Friday, February 21, 2014

Braised Rabbit and Peanuts in Olive Oil and White Wine (serves 2-3)

braised rabbit and peanuts in olive oil and white wine
Rabbit is not an animal that you can easily purchase in your local market.  A few weeks ago I was at the Winter Market in Rollinsford, NH and met up with Sherri, owner of Cracked an Egg Farm. Luckily she had some frozen rabbits for sale.  I purchased one and kept it in the freezer until ready to use.  I have made this dish a few times in the past few years and it's always delicious.  You can add a variety of ingredients (different types of mushrooms, gingko nuts, etc) to this dish.  I like peanuts and because it takes a long time to pre-cook them I used a cup for this recipe which may be a bit much for a pound of rabbit.  However, you can cut it to 1/2 cup.  If you can't find rabbit you can use a free-range chicken or duck.  Chicken and duck will need less time for cooking.  If you cannot find raw pancetta you can use any good bacon, buy ones that have less fat and low sodium.  You can serve this dish over risotto, noodles, pasta, spatzle, gnocchi or mashed potato with a vegetable dish such as grilled asparagus or 5-Minute Sautéed Asparagus and Baby Bellas.

Braised Rabbit and Peanuts in Olive Oil and White Wine (serves 2-3)

Ingredients:

1/2 to 1 C raw peanuts
1/2 C olive oil
4 oz chopped raw pancetta
2 garlic, chopped
1 whole rabbit (about 1 lb), cleaned, de-jointed, cut the meat into 1-inch pieces
4 baby bella mushrooms, julienned (about 1 C)
1 C drinking white wine
2 C beef broth (fat free, low sodium)--or add enough to just cover all of the contents
1/8 tsp dried thyme
Thickener (2 tsp cornstarch and 4 tsp water mixture)
1 tsp fish sauce or salt according to your taste

Method:

1) Pre-cook the peanuts in water for about 1/2 hour to soften them.  Set them aside.
2) Heat a large pot over medium high heat.  Add about 1 tablespoon of oil, pancetta and garlic, saute about 2-3 minutes.  Remove the contents.
3) Add 1/2 of the oil to the pot, start searing the rabbit meat on both sides until all the meat is browned.
4) Add peanuts, pancetta, garlic, mushrooms, cooking wine, broth, the remaining oil to the pot, cover the pot.  Turn heat down to low once the liquid comes to a boil.  Let the pot simmer for about 45-50 minutes or until the meat is tender to your liking.
5) Add thyme, uncover the pot, turn up the heat a little and let the liquid reduce, about 25 more minutes or to your liking.  Add thickener.  Add Add fish sauce or salt to taste.  Turn off heat.

de-jointing a rabbit
*Keep the frozen rabbit in the refrigerator to thaw.  Once thawed, wash the rabbit well and remove any remaining fur.  I normally start removing the legs one at a time by finding the joint and slicing through each one.  Then I remove as much meat off from the back along the spine and cut this into 1-inch pieces.  I then finish by taking a cleaver and chop through the entire spine roughly into 3-inch lengths.  I re-wash all the pieces with bones to remove any small debris or chips.  I use all the parts including the bones to cook.  I have mentioned this in past posts, it is best to cook such a dish with the bones in if possible.  The bones add more flavor to your dish.





*Here are a few photos from this week's weather in Seacoast New Hampshire.  Fresh snow is beautiful to observe but can make driving dangerous.  

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